There is never a week that goes by that I do not hear a story about how a pediatrician doesn’t pay any attention to a parent’s complaint regarding their child’s developmental issues. Just a few weeks ago, a mother approached me with her 3 year old child who was clearly exhibiting autistic characteristics. She asked me what I really think about him.
I don’t like to be put in this situation, so I tried to be sensitive about the issue. I suggested to her that she might want to take him for an evaluation, and try speech therapy as well, so he may start developing some language skills. To my surprise she told me that she knows that her son has autism, but her complaint was that the child’s pediatrician doesn’t think therapy is necessary for him.
This scenario is like a broken record to me. I am all too familiar with this situation, as are so many other families.
What really makes me angry is that this child can be getting valuable services already with ready and willing parents, yet the pediatrician deprives him from early intervention. Many families feel that autism creeped up on them, and when they actually accept the fact of autism, then they feel like they have been side-swiped by the ignorance of some medical professionals, who delay or make it impossible to get services for them.
These are the people who should be there for their children every step of the way, as well as for the parents. Most of us think that after all the information that has been put out there, everyone should be aware of autism, and there can be no more denial, or delays based on old fashioned theories. As some say better safe than sorry. They would rather have the child evaluated for autism, and get the diagnosis as early as possible, so they can start early intervention which is crucial. So please someone, tell me why do we have medical professionals telling parents that there is nothing wrong with a child who doesn’t speak by the age of 3 in this case, and had not met most of his developmental mile-stones.
This article below gives us some hope that maybe one day we will have a tool in our hands that can clearly state the diagnosis, so there will be no more guessing or denial. I hope.
December 4th, 2010 at 10:47 am
American scientists think they have developed a test – using MRI brain scans – that can determine whether someone has autism.
Up until now, there has been no clear biological test to objectively conclude if someone has autism. Doctors currently diagnose autism, usually in children, by observing behavior and interactions with others.
Efforts to find a more biological test have generally failed. Most researchers have focused on looking at various structures in the brain, to see if autistic patients differed from normally-functioning people. But they’ve come up empty.
Nicholas Lange of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues decided to look for abnormalities, not in the functional structures of the brain, but in the circuitry that links them together.
“The brain may be okay, the parts that do the work may be okay,” he said. “But the wiring – the ‘cables’ between the points in the brain, one to another – may be disrupted in some way.”
The brain’s circuitry, known as white matter, can be seen with an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] scan. In particular, Lange used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which detects how organized the brain’s circuits are.
He likens it to a package of spaghetti, “… where there’s a bundle of uncooked spaghetti, and there’s a clear directionality to that. It’s nice and well-organized, as opposed to a cooked bowl of spaghetti that’s just a tangle of – it looks like spaghetti And that’s the way the wiring can be. It can be either very tangled, it can be very organized.”
Using the MRI scans, the researchers determined how organized the connections were in two areas of the brain that control language and social functioning.
According to a new paper published online by the journal Autism Research, they found that they could determine whether the person had autism – with 94 percent accuracy.
Lange says a subsequent study to confirm the finding was even more accurate, making this the best biological test so far for autism.
While this test is helpful for researchers, Lange says it needs more validation to be used as a tool for diagnosis. Eventually, he suggests, it might be able to confirm autism earlier than about age three, which is currently regarded as the youngest a patient can be diagnosed as autistic.
— Ethiopian Review DB